31 Mar 2022
31 Mar 2022
Status: this preprint is currently under review for the journal ACP.

Long-range transport of Asian dust to the Arctic: identification of transport pathways, evolution of aerosol optical properties, and impact assessment on surface albedo changes

Xiaoxi Zhao1, Kan Huang1,3,4, and Joshua S. Fu2 Xiaoxi Zhao et al.
  • 1Center for Atmospheric Chemistry Study, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Atmospheric Particle Pollution and Prevention (LAP3), Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Fudan University, Shanghai, 200433, China
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
  • 3IRDR ICoE on Risk Interconnectivity and Governance on Weather/Climate Extremes Impact and Public Health, Fudan University, Shanghai 200433, China
  • 4Institute of Eco-Chongming (IEC), Shanghai, 202162, China

Abstract. Airborne dust is one of the most important natural aerosols, it has various environmental impacts on air quality, ocean fertilization, and the global climate change. Asian dust, representing one of the major dust sources in the world, has been widely studied due to its long-range transport capability. However, its transport to the Arctic has been less investigated. In this study, two typical transport routes were identified based on the recorded dust events in China during 2011–2015. Accordingly, two specific Asian dust long-range transport events were selected and compared, i.e., one observed at Barrow, Alaska (travelled mostly over lands within 6–7 days) and the other one observed at Alert, Canada (travelled mostly over oceans within 7–8 days). The transport routes of the two dust events had been cross-validated by using air mass trajectory modeling, meteorology reanalysis data, ground-based aerosol columnar and profiling observations, and spaceborne remote sensing. It was found that different transport routes to the Arctic had divergent effects on the evolution of aerosol properties, revealing different mixing extents between dust, anthropogenic particles, smoke, and sea salts. Based on the SNow ICe Aerosol Radiative model, the albedo simulation indicated that dust and elemental carbon together reduced the surface albedo by 0.35 % to 2.63 % compared to the pure snow condition. This study implied that the dust long-transport from China to the Arctic was ubiquitous and may be a potential contributor to the Arctic regional climate and ecosystem.

Xiaoxi Zhao et al.

Status: open (until 15 Jun 2022)

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Xiaoxi Zhao et al.

Xiaoxi Zhao et al.


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Short summary
Long-range transport of Asian dust to the Arctic was considered as an important source of Arctic air pollution. Different transport routes to the Arctic had divergent effects on the evolution of aerosol properties. Depositions of long-range transported dust particles can reduce the Arctic surface albedo considerably. This study implied that the ubiquitous long-transport dust from China exerted considerable aerosol indirect effects on the Arctic and may have potential biogeochemical significance.